People tend to make a variety of kitchens in their shipping container houses. The ones who do not cook much are satisfied with just a table and an electric stove. Others construct a full size wooden or metal bench with a countertop of polished and sealed wood. And then some people love to eat home-cooked food and do not want to compromise on their kitchen. This topic is highly beneficial for such people. Let us explore the various aspects of building a shipping container house kitchen in detail.
Basics of building a kitchen in a container house
Shipping containers have limited space inside and leave you with a narrow space for constructing your kitchen. This place becomes even narrower after adding insulation and wall frames. You can expect a space of about 7 feet measured from drywall to drywall as the breadth of your kitchen. For constructing a full-fledged kitchen with all the facilities, a gallery-style design would be perfect. This is best suited to long and narrow spaces. This gives us a kitchen design containing a pantry wall on one side and a countertop on the other. The countertop wall carries all the modern cooking equipment and drawers for your most basic kitchen tools. The pantry wall, on the other hand, features both cabinets and open shelves for your convenience.
How to Build a Shipping Container House Kitchen?
Now that you know the basic design of the container house kitchen, let’s move forward with its construction.
Installing the cabinets
The kitchen cabinets are installed just after finishing the drywall but before laying the floor. Since the area behind the cabinets is prone to catch moisture, a moisture-resistant board is used for extra protection. The electrical and plumbing access to the kitchen will be provided via this part of the wall. To know the exact points for cutting out these access holes, cabinets are laid according to the pre-decided design. The relative fit of the cabinets is determined before making the final cuts in the drywall.
Once the electrical and plumbing access is built, it is time to fit in the cabinets. When you install your cabinets, don’t forget to detach their doors and face panels to prevent any scratches to them. Start screwing the adjacent cabinets together till they form a single piece. You can use shims to fill the gaps created by uneven surfaces as no floor or wall is perfectly flat. Your sole purpose in using shims is to get a flat top surface and perfectly aligned front faces.
Fitting the side panel
After securing the cabinets together, it’s time to work on the side panel. Rather than constructing a standard horizontal countertop, we will create a waterfall edge in our kitchen. For its reinforcement, you’ll need to build a plywood side panel as a base. As our design demands the placement of our refrigerator adjoining this side panel, we’ll make this portion a little roomier. You can add wooden strips to your plywood’s ends to ensure adequate space for the efficient functioning of your refrigerator. L-brackets can be used to attach this side panel securely to the drywall.
Installing the microwave and open shelves
Both the microwave and its adjacent open shelves are installed directly to the wall with the help of metal tracks. These tracks are quite easy to work with. You will be screwing in one piece of the track to the shelf and other to the wall. Once you accurately fit these metal tracks on the wall, slide in your shelves and microwave. You can consider using multi-functional shelves with hollow spaces for utility purposes.
Now that we are done with the basic structure, we need to fit in our appliances and install our countertop. Slide in your compact under-counter refrigerator adjacent to the side panel. Attach the doors and face panels back to your cabinets. For the waterfall edge designs, quartz and granite are the best countertop materials. Marble can also be a good option. Quartz, however, is the most durable and stain-resistant as well. Install the one you like the most both on the top and the side panel for creating a waterfall effect. While installing the top portion, you will have to fit in the stainless steel kitchen sink as well. Also, you are required to drill holes for the kitchen faucet and the garbage disposal button. The finished installation looks extremely beautiful with a continuous flow of quartz from top to bottom.
Installing the pantry cabinets
Now that we have finished our countertop side, we’ll start building our pantry wall. The recessed drywall provides us with a depth of about 12 inches for building the pantry shelves. For an upscale look, consider solid oak shelves with some compact and beautiful cabinets. Start with installing some plywood underneath the whole wall. Again, use shims for leveling up everything straight. Install your cabinets on one side. Before moving forward, build drywall at the space left on the top of your cabinets. At this point, install drywall below the cabinets to cover the plywood area as well.
Installing the pantry shelves
Now, you are only left with the installation of open oak shelves. Cut your oaks measuring them correctly for space they will fit in. Consider fixing them on the sides as well. Sand all these wood planks to 220 grit and add a finish of your choice. Keep the height of the lower shelves longer to store heavier pantry items below. It is convenient to pick them up from these shelves. Install one shelf at a time followed by two side planks determining the height of the shelf you form. One of the middle shelves can be utilized to store smart-home features and mobile recharging. If you’d like to do that, ensure to cut holes in the oak shelves and drywall at this point. This will give access to the desired electric points.
Finishing up the pantry wall
Since you have installed your pantry cabinets and shelves, it’s time to finish up the pantry wall. We have installed everything functional but the pantry wall doesn’t look like a single unit by this time. You must consider adding an inch or two of wood framing throughout the pantry wall. This will provide a uniform look to your storage area.
Using high-quality cabinets in your compact kitchen is more cost-effective in the long run. These cabinets will bear heavy loads as we have limited space to stuff our kitchen tools. Also, the quantity of cabinets required is less given the small space. So, there won’t be much difference if you go for some high-quality cabinets.
You must ensure to secure the metal tracks properly to the wall. This helps in the secured installation of your cabinets that are going to take all the load.
You can roughly check the size of your oak open shelves before securing them with a good amount of nails.
Don’t forget to consider multi-functional items over others for your kitchen. They are perfect for small spaces.
When you sand your wood, always ensure to go along the grain of the wood. Going against the grain will hinder its smoothness by causing depression in the wood. The whole purpose of sanding will be lost in such a case.
Consider applying a finish coat of walnut oil, tung oil, or linseed oil to the oak wood before installing. This finish must be cured for 24 hours. To properly waterproof your shelves, consider applying a total of 3 coats with an interval of 24 hours. This will dramatically improve the life of your pantry shelves.
When you have limited resources, it is best to utilize them judiciously. Limited kitchen space comes with a lot of challenges for buying compact appliances. On the other hand, you save a lot of small cabinets and little shelves. You must plan all your building expenses related to the container house kitchen in advance. This will help you remain within your allocated budget for the whole shipping container house. Following are the cost aspects that must be considered beforehand:
The total cost of all the kitchen appliances
The cost of quartz for waterfall edge countertop
The total cost of all the cabinets
Cost of kitchen sink
The total cost of all the open shelves
Cost of miscellaneous items like screws, nails, metal tracks, etc.
Cost of renting the building equipment
Mini Kitchens You Can Buy
It might be a good idea to get one of these “ready-made” mini kitchen. There is a huge variety in style and color, so you can easily find one that fits your needs.
A kitchen is a special place in your container house where your family will gather for meal preparation. It is, therefore, important to give special thought to its design. The kitchen design discussed above is practical, modern, and functional at the same time. It gives your shipping container house kitchen a classy feel and looks. It is filled with all the modern amenities yet being compact keeping in mind the limitation of space. You and your family would love to spend quality time here.